My swirling wants. Your frozen lips.
The grammar turned and attacked me.
Themes, written under duress.
Emptiness of the notations.

They gave me a drug that slowed the healing of wounds.

I want you to see this before I leave:
the experience of repetition as death
the failure of criticism to locate the pain
the poster in the bus that said:
my bleeding is under control

A red plant in a cemetary of plastic wreaths.

A last attempt: the language is a dialect called metaphor.
These images go unglossed: hair, glacier, flashlight.
When I think of a landscape I am thinking of a time.
When I talk of taking a trip I mean forever.
I could say: those mountains have a meaning
but further than that I could not say.

To do something very common, in my own way.

Analysis, meaning and summary of the poem by

5 Comments

  1. hamid says:

    This poem is really a nice one but langauge is bit difficult

  2. name says:

    im a daily commenter,

  3. sweta says:

    i dnno wich pt of view to take. that rich is comparing hr own permanent loss of hubby to donne’s playful flirting wth hs wife abt th fct tht he’ll come back, or that donne’s poem has only managed to rekindle her pain?

    p.s: i’ve got my paper day after………… plz help.

  4. Samantha Nourse says:

    this poem is definitely a response to John Donne’s poem “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”

    A Valediction Forbidding Mourning
    My swirling wants. Your frozen lips. (Expresses unrequited love; frozen lips…lips are a symbol of sensuality and she is talking about Donne’s lips, how they are cold, meaning without heart and love)
    The grammar turned and attacked me. (Literal level: the structure and tight rhyme scheme of the Donne poem was shocking; figurative level: Donne is talking about death and leaving and he is telling his lover that she should not mourn and she should just accept the death of her husband)
    Themes, written under duress. (Themes, written under constraint; confined; he is talking about love in a confined manner)
    Emptiness of the notations. (The heartlessness that Donne expresses by forbidding mourning)

    They gave me a drug that slowed the healing of wounds. (She is contradicting Donne’s idea that the love should be forgotten when the speaker dies and that the lover should not mourn by saying that they gave her a drug that slowed down the healing…she prolonged the mourning of her lost love rather than shortening it)

    I want you to see this before I leave: (she remarks how she would deal with love right before death)
    the experience of repetition as death (death is not the end of the love; repetition in the sense of the circles that are created in Donne’s poem; the cycles are death)
    the failure of criticism to locate the pain (wants to avoid the pains of leaving a loved one behind)
    the poster in the bus that said:
    my bleeding is under control (Donne is trying to control other’s reactions to his own death; he is trying to control his bleeding, control his death; doesn’t want his lover to mourn)

    A red plant in a cemetary of plastic wreaths. (Standing out of the crowd; red=blood; cemetery reinforces the idea of death; plastic symbolizes fakeness; the fake valediction
    Valediction=an act of bidding farewell)

    A last attempt: the language is a dialect called metaphor. (She recognizes Donne’s use of metaphors to express his valediction; metaphors in Donne’s poem=”the breath goes now”, the compass)
    These images go unglossed: hair, glacier, flashlight. (Images that are not superficially deceptive like those used in Donne’s poem)
    When I think of a landscape I am thinking of a time. (Time is mentioned to represent how it takes time to mourn a lover and that one should not be forbidden to mourn their loved one after death)
    When I talk of taking a trip I mean forever. (Donne is deceptive in the way he describes his deathbed; he talks about death as if he will be back again, that he is just going on a vacation, but in reality, he will not be coming back at all. Rich addresses this blurred sense of “taking a trip” by saying that “I mean forever” …she will never be coming back after death)
    I could say: those mountains have a meaning (she could say that the mountains have meaning in that everything can be attached to meaning but …)
    but further than that I could not say. (she does not think that that meaning is of any importance)

    To do something very common, in my own way. (She is expressing her own thoughts on love and death and relating it to Donne’s poem. Something very common is writing poetry about love and death, saying goodbye to a loved one on deathbed. She is declaring that her purpose in writing the poem is to do this in her own way; she would not forbid mourning as john donne would, she would prolong it as written in the line “They gave me a drug that slowed the healing of wounds”)

    these are my thoughts as i am pre-writing for my paper.

  5. FulySikhChik says:

    This poem is a comment on John Donne’s poem…

    It is a satiric response….

    My swirling wants. Your frozen lips. (unrequited love)
    The grammar turned and attacked me. (she doesn’t understand… shocked by the implications of the poem)
    Themes, written under duress. (confused. “Do ppl actually think like that?”)
    Emptiness of the notations. (She doesn’t believe in the themes)

    They gave me a drug that slowed the healing of wounds. (the pain of her own love life is being enhanced by the obviousnous of some ancient guy – Donne – getting action)

    I want you to see this before I leave:
    the experience of repetition as death
    the failure of criticism to locate the pain
    the poster in the bus that said:
    my bleeding is under control (comments on how she felt as she read the poem)

    A red plant in a cemetary of plastic wreaths. (she thinks that maybe she is alone in pain)

    A last attempt: the language is a dialect called metaphor. (she thinks that maybe it’s all a joke…)
    These images go unglossed: hair, glacier, flashlight. (Metaphysical poets like Donne used weird and unusual conceits and metaphors… maybe she is commenting on it)
    When I think of a landscape I am thinking of a time. (she believes in history (time) of structures, like landscape)
    When I talk of taking a trip I mean forever. (she believes in a life journey)
    I could say: those mountains have a meaning (maybe she’s implying that colossal thoughts, universal thoughs – “why r we here?” – have a use in life)
    but further than that I could not say. (but her insignoificance on Earth has no relevance to anyone but those around her… so her opinion is not important…. maybe she doesn’t understand the use of thoughts… maybe she enjoys these thoughts)

    To do something very common, in my own way. (WTF?!)

    I dunno… the poem is dodgy… my English teacher said it was good… so i thought i’d read it… and then check out the comments to help me understand it….

    No one had commented… so daaayam!!! anyway, hopefully MY thoughts will help someone else, to write something, to help me….

    lol… I’m confused now =)

    FulySikhChik,
    (16,Female,Austr)

    PS: I’m only a student so don’t laugh at me, k? *puppy dog eyes*

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